In 1948, Secretary of Defense James Forrestal established the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference (JCOC) program. The JCOC program was designed to provide American business and civic leaders an introduction to the roles and missions of the United States armed forces. Selected JCOC members underwent a 24/7 two-week program that inserted the JCOC members into components of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The program was designed to provide a fully immersive experience with the military to allow the participants to learn first-hand the various aspects and issues of national security and the armed forces.
In 1952 alumni of the JCOC program formed the Defense Orientation Conference Association (DOCA) to provide a forum for the continuing education of JCOC alumni on defense and national security affairs through briefings provided by senior leaders of the Department of Defense and Department of State. Membership in DOCA was originally limited to JCOC alumni but soon was opened to members of the public. DOCA now has a nationwide membership of civic and business leaders dedicated to continuing education of defense, foreign policy and national security affairs. DOCA members have received briefings on national defense issues from senior officers at military bases through-out the United States, enjoyed lunch with enlisted members at those bases, visited national laboratories involved with national defense, received briefings on foreign affairs from senior members from the Department of State, and visited countless foreign countries and received briefings at Embassies in England, China, Norway, France, Italy, Colombia, Panama, Taiwan, Argentina and other countries.
DOCA’s response to Covid-19 was to rapidly shift from personal conferences to monthly virtual conferences involving issues associated with foreign affairs and national security. It is anticipated that personal conferences in the continental United States and foreign countries will resume in 2022.